Yet another thin film manufacturer has picked up a massive funding raise. SoloPower, based in Milpitas, Calif., has taken almost $200 million to expand its manufacturing capacity, according to this morning’s VentureWire.
Like Miasole, Nanosolar and several others, SoloPower makes thin film CIGS panels, meaning they rely on a specific chemical to convert sunlight to electricity. The funding will go toward a 100 megawatt per year facility also based in the state.
Although the amounts being pushed into thin film right now would make most venture capital investors’ eyes go wide, they’re not that notable in the broader context of the capital needed to build large factories. What’s more important is that there are investors willing to provide capital at all, during what is an economic downturn for the rest of the country.
The worry for many was that growing cleantech companies with good prospects would not be able to tap into enough funding to move past research into commercialization, and eventually to an IPO on the stock markets. But for a number of thin film companies, it appears that a number of investors are willing to step up with substantial amounts.
SoloPower didn’t disclose who the new investors are. The company last took funding in July 2007, drawing $30 million from a set of venture investors. Other recent thin film fundings include Nanosolar’s $300 million raise, Ava Solar with $104 million, and Miasole with a (probable) $200 million funding.